Three International Attendees from the LDS Tech Conference: Mafoya, Caesar, Guilli
by Greg Duerden
International attendees at the 2013 LDS Tech Conference included LDS Tech Chapter members from India, Western Africa, and Brazil, among others. The Chapter President from India was Uday Techi (see separate spotlight article on him and his story). From Benin, Africa, was Mafoya Joel Dossoumon. Seth Ayim is the LDS Tech Chapter President from Accra, Ghana in Western Africa. From Brazil were Caesar Silva and Giulliane Cristine Nunes Ferraz.
Brother Dossoumon lives in Chicago now, but came out to the conference this year, after hearing about it from his friend Ayim. “Seth and a friend attended Thursday but were unable to attend Friday,” he explained.
Mafoya Joel Dossoumon from Benin, Africa at LDS Tech Conference Oct. 2013 (Photo credit: Cameron Porter)
He came to the United States four years ago to go to school. He has since graduated with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Illinois (last May). Now, like many college graduates, he is looking for work “in on-line communications, web content management, marketing, public relations, writing, anything.” And he is a published author and has a book of his experiences in Africa he has published.
Brother Dossoumon taught computer classes to adults as part of his LDS Tech Chapter experience in Ghana – where he attended part of his schooling and got to know Seth Ayim. One day, he stated, “ I hope to go back and start more chapters in Western Africa.”
When asked about the potential of technology in Africa he said, “There is a tremendous opportunity in general, but for members who can use technology and take advantage of it in teaching and at other church events, the opportunity the church has is great. Little things we take for granted here, like watching a live stream of General Conference, means the world to those persons in Africa. Or the members can use phones to download scriptures and share them. There is a wide, wide world of possibilities for the church in Africa.”
Brother Caesar Silva was from Tomdrina, Brazil, and graduated from LDS Business College but is now attending BYU. He was eight years old when his family joined the Church in Brazil with his two brothers and sister.
Silva was a presenter of a new app at the Idea Sharing sessions on Thursday, during the conference. He is also a Returned Missionary (Brazil, Sao Paulo, Mission) where he regularly went to the Family History Center in his area to help non-members do genealogy and family history, which then opened the opportunity to give them the discussions, a win-win all around.
Also attending with Silva was a friend of his from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Giulliane Cristine Nunes Ferraz. They met here in Salt Lake City while both were attending LDS Business College. She also graduated from there in May and now works at the Church Office Building.
When asked what they had gleaned from the conference so far, both said they had enjoyed the keynote speaker and were looking forward to Silva’s presenting his idea at the sharing session.
Br. Dossoumon said he had “learned about service, putting the work of the Lord first, using our talents to further the work - that seems to be the center of all the messages we received. It has been a humbling experience for me, seeing hundreds of highly skilled people eager to put their talents and skills to the service of others.”